Minnesota Hospitals See Increase in Patient Harm Events
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News)- Healthcare providers across Minnesota that saw an increase in adverse events and incidents of patient harm last year.
The new report from the Minnesota Department of Health indicates the Mayo Clinic St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester saw 55 adverse events from October, 7, 2020 to October 6, 2021, an increase of four from the previous year’s report. The most recent report indicates harm incidents that resulted in severe injury rose from 14 in 2020 to 25 in 2021. Unlike the previous year, none of the adverse events in 2021 resulted in the death of a patient.
State data indicates Olmsted County Medical Center saw adverse events increase from one in 2020 to seven in 2021. Serious injuries did not rise from 2020 to 2021 despite the increase in adverse events. No deaths were reported in either year.
Statewide, adverse events increased from 382 in 2020 to 508 in 2021. Deaths increased from 11 to 14. Falls and pressure ulcers accounted for 60% of the harm incidents last year. In a news release detailing the report, MDH says the increase is likely due to longer patient stays and extra steps care providers had to take to prevent spreading COVID-19.
MDH reports the average length of stays in intensive care units more than doubled from 2.31 days in 2020 to 5.47 days in 2021. Officials say longer stays can lead to an increase in skin breakdown due to a patient lying down or using a medical device and can cause a loss of strength which increases the chances of a patient falling. Health leaders say providers cared for patients who were sicker and dealing with multiple ailments.
“The pandemic tested our health care system and our health care providers in an unprecedented way in 2021,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “The pandemic also showed the value of our adverse health events reporting system. By having this system, we were able to track the effects of this extraordinary event on patient safety, and we can use these results to work with Minnesota’s providers to increase our resiliency and ability to confront future challenges.”